Kids everywhere are headed back to school. As a parent, you are probably happy to have a break, and kids are just as excited about being able to see their friends every day. Back-to-school is a busy time, but it's also a good time to refocus your habits - especially those around health in general, and oral health, specifically. Here are some tips to help you and your kids focus on oral health during the back-to-school season.
Send Healthy Snacks to School
If you pack a lunch or send snacks to school for your child, make sure the foods you provide are good for their teeth. Stay away from candy, of course, and from most packaged, dessert-like snacks that contain a lot of sugar. Instead, consider sending packages of almonds, berries with low-fat yogurt, apple slices, or crunchy vegetables with dip.
Similar items make great after-school snacks. Keep them stocked in your fridge so your child can reach for them when they get home from school and are feeling famished.
Brush Your Teeth Together in the Morning
When everyone is rushing around, trying to make it out the door to school and work in the morning, tooth brushing can get forgotten in the process. If you make a habit of brushing your teeth together in the morning, your kids are less likely to forget. Plus, you can keep an eye on their brushing techniques and correct them if they are brushing too quickly or missing spots.
Don't worry too much about whether your kids brush before or after breakfast. While brushing after breakfast is slightly better for their teeth, the most important thing is that they do remember to brush twice a day.
Provide a Mouthguard for Sports
The back-to-school season is prime season for cracked and broken teeth as kids start playing sports during gym class and recess. Reduce the risk of dental emergencies by providing your child with a mouthguard. Make sure they know to wear it whenever they're playing a contact sport like football or lacrosse. Mouth guards are also important during baseball, soccer, and rugby.
Many schools require or suggest mouthguard use during certain sports, but the rules are not always strictly enforced. If you suspect your child may not be wearing their mouth guard, talk to the teacher and ask them to help you encourage this habit.
Schedule Check-Ups Early
Regular dental exams are important for kids because they ensure cavities are discovered early and that your child is taking proper care of their teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that school-age children and adolescents have dental checkups every six months.
Once school starts, squeezing in dental checkups becomes more challenging. Schedule the checkups well in advance so you're more likely to get an appointment that fits into your schedule. If you have more than one child, try to schedule all of their appointments at the same time so you only have to make one trip to the dentist.
Spend Time Teaching About Tooth Care
Now that school has begun and your child is refocused on the idea of learning, spend some time teaching them about tooth care. You will help them develop better dental care habits, which will keep their teeth healthy throughout their lifetime. Depending on your child's age, you could read them children's books about dental care or even show them more technical videos that explain how cavities form.
Heading back to school is exciting for kids and adults, but make sure you do not neglect your teeth in all of the excitement. If you're looking for a new family dentist in the Ocean Springs area, contact Tomsik Family Dentistry. Our welcoming staff is waiting to greet you and your kids.